MANLY ANTIQUE CENTRE
A Bentwood hall tree made in Czechoslavakia (still has its label)
from real timber (Beech) steamed and bent into shape
to produce this fabulous VERY HARD TO FIND hall tree or hat stand.
This steaming produced a strong yet flexible item that stands the test
of time hence why the famous Bentwood cafe chairs are still around in
numbers and something we sell regularly when we get them.
As far as I am aware the modern versions are made from flat strips of laminated
'timber' pressed into shape. - a cheap way to make something that looks
vaguely like the genuine steamed Bentwood furniture.
This world-famous furniture was invented by the Viennese cabinetmaker and furniture designer,
Michael Thonet (1796–1871). In 1849, he founded the company “Thonet Söhne” in Vienna,
which was later renamed to “Gebrüder Thonet” and, as early as in 1851, he introduced the
so-called Viennese chairs of bent wood at the World Exhibition in London, for which he received a
bronze medal. Four years later he received a silver medal and in 1867 in Paris he was awarded
a gold medal for the most famous chair of all times – Chair No. 14.
Thonet's five sons took over after his death and their factories in the area
(known as Czechoslavakia from 1918) produced bent wood furniture on a global scale thanks
to their entreprenarial skills and the vast beech forests and skills of the local workers.
Other companies followed including J J Kohn who eventually morphed with Thonet in
the 20th century and from this region a firm called Ligna of Drevounia, Czechoslavakia
which we think might be the manufacture of the one for sale here.
The cafe chairs are the most recognisable items of Bentwood furniture but they made
almost anything you can think of including bedroom suites ie beds, side cabinets and wardrobes.
Their furniture was cost effective, durable and long lasting so it was not only used domestically but
also commercially world wide for restaurants, offices and factories alike.
For whatever reason here in Australia it is not easy to find these genuine 20th Century
versions and in truth this is the first genuine bentwood hat tree we have had
for a very long time.
You also don't often see it in this lovely light honey coloured timber.
The early 20th century versions are generally stained a walnut colour but this one
is in keeping with our modern tastes and just shows the natural timber colour.
It has been used of course and the circular section near the base that holds the
umbrellas and walking sticks in place is a little bent out of shape (no pun intended)
and has a minor repair. Otherwise it is in good vintage condition and a real gem.
As stated above underneath it retains the remnants of a paper label that reads
DREVOUNIA Made in Czechoslavakia
It would suggest that it was made by a company called Ligna of Drevounia in the mid 20th century.
It stands 195cm high and 59cm across the base.
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